So, I feel better now.
Yesterday was a good day. One of the things I still get worked up about in my professional life is good firearms training, and yesterday was pretty awesome. We had a new moving target set-up, so for the first time in my career I got to shoot at a moving target.
I know, huh?
It’s embarrassing, really. It should be pretty much standard issue training, right? I mean, folks tend to move around a good bit when they are shooting and getting shot at, and the tactical and practical considerations are really magnified when you add dynamic movement into the mix. One way we work this is to shoot at each other with marking rounds, little paint-filled pellets we shoot at each other- this is dynamic, shoot-on-the-move work, but you’re not really shooting your duty gun and real live ammo. Or we’ll shoot airsoft pellets at each other, too. Also good.
But it’s nice to shoot your actual gun with your actual ammunition at an actual moving target. And we did a metric shit-ton of that yesterday.
One thing I’ve seen change so much in my years of instructing is the targets and the drills we shoot. I think when I started there were the old bull’s eye marksmanship targets, and there were silhouette targets, and there were some photo-realistic targets- mostly for hostage-taker scenarios, you know, a man with a gun held to a woman’s head, and we practice shooting his head and not hers.
What I’m seeing more and more of is really small targets- instead of shooting into a big hunk of a “man-sized” target we’re shooting little bitty squares and circles, like dimes and postage stamps, or 3×5 cards. Much smaller stuff. And we’re adding in all kinds of confusing shit like numbers and colors and stuff that you have to problem solve on before you shoot, or actually while you’re shooting. And more time-pressure stuff, so you’re fighting the clock.
All of this to force us to think and study and move and be under pressure while we’re hitting exactly what we’re aiming at as fast as we can and not missing and not shooting stuff we’re not supposed to shoot and now do it while everyone is running around with their hair on fire.
So that was my day yesterday, and it was fine.
I’m retiring soon, so this was one of my very last range days. I’m a little bit sad about it. I’ve devoted most of my adult life to the pursuit of skill at arms, and it’s the one thing I think I can say without qualification that I’m good at. I’ve got the ten thousand hours of hard-wired training in. The handgun is my violin, my dance, my artwork. I’ve got more hours in on that one skill than I do in any other.
And I’ll be walking away from it in a couple of months.
I know that for the rest of my life, if I ever needed to, I could pick up a gun and take care of bidness. Not at my highest level, but well enough to still seriously fuck up somebody’s game plan.
I’ll miss it.
I’m happy, though, that from now on I’ll be putting all of that effort into building a more compassionate and wise person. Better living through buddhism, if you will.
Seems a good trade to me.
In other news, my wife is back, my kid has moved out with her babies, and life is good. Lots of hard work in the weeks to come, but I think we’ll get it done. I think this thing’s really gonna happen.
Namaste and big, big love to all of you!